Two Steps Back

I’m still getting back into the swing of things at work. The earlier mornings and travel are making it hard to get as much done as I’d like, which was expected. We’ve also been having heat waves fairly regularly. This has made dishes and cooking difficult!

This week is a big martial arts week as we have our demo on the weekend at Natsu Matsuri 2019. I’m also attending a workshop a friend is running on building a Fukuro shinai. That’s a bamboo sword, which has a leather covering (for those who aren’t in the know).

Other than that, I don’t have much to report. I’m pretty much just working for the weekend right now, but I expect that will calm down soon enough. I did manage to watch Stranger Things Season 3, which was awesome and I’m sad that I’ve run out of episodes!

WRITING

So far, these changes have me losing words, but I have faith it will eventually work out. I’m through chapter one. There are only twenty-five more chapters to go…

  • The Page & The Magician: 71,969/80,000

FINANCES

I have started tackling the credit card debt though I’ve only had one pay and a half one at that.

  • OSAP Loan: 3.17%
  • Savings: TBD*

*My adviser and I will meet again in the fall to get things rolling here.

FITNESS

I’m a little frustrated here. Apps tell me I’m not getting enough calories to lose weight and I don’t have much of an appetite lately. I think that may be due to increased caffeine intake, so I’m going to calm down on that and see what that does. I may have to go see a doctor about it.

  • Gym: 0/3*
  • Iaido: Sunday’s class was excellent. We decided which katas to do for the demo and after practicing the whole set, we split them up among us and worked on our own parts. I’m a little nervous as I’ll be doing kata I don’t usually demonstrate.

*I’m going to hold off a moment as my exercise level is currently higher than my calorie intake and may be causing me issues.

HOME

  • Living Room: I got the bookshelf bench and put it in place. It has helped that part of the room, but it seems like there is still so much else to handle! I did find a place that does tires on Saturdays, so I think I will be able to put my tires away soon and that will help too.
  • Bathroom: Nothing yet.

FRENCH

  • Read: 9/30
  • Class: I’ve reached out about assessment at work. After that, I can find out about training.

MUSIC

  • Piano: I start classes this Saturday and I’m pretty excited about it!

R~

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Make-It Monday: Getting Started

bitmoji_goalsDuring the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the pleasure of getting to know one martial arts friend a little better and meet his wife. I felt a lot of different things when they told me they read my blog and it’s been helpful for their children who are both pen warriors.

Weird, honoured, and shocked were some of those feelings.

It was also a reminder that writing can have lasting affects on others. The further one goes on this path, the greater the affect on a larger scale.

I thought that a post on getting started is in order. It’s a post for those who enjoy writing and are trying to take that first next step towards becoming more serious about it.

Now, I can’t remember how I first found out about the first book related thing I went to in Ottawa. It was a book signing for an anthology *I think*. It’s a bit hazy as it was around 5 years ago. I know Marie Bilodeau, Geoff Gander, and Hayden Trenholm were there. They were some of the first writers I met in Ottawa. Or maybe I went to something else and met Marie there and she told me about it. Perhaps the Small Press Fair.

Actually, I think that’s what happened? Anyway, around the same time, I met several people who were going to several writing related events and I just kind of started showing up to things and while there found out about more things.

Those things included:

1. The Small Press Fair

2. Book Signings

3. Conventions including Can-Con, Ad Astra, and several others I haven’t been to yet.

4. Prose in the Park (Ottawa’s version of Word on the Street)

5. Ottawa Independent Writers

6. ChiSeries reading series

7. NaNoWriMo

I still go to many of these things, though I’ve been too busy lately and thus a bit too worn down to go to Can-Con this year.

Some other important things about the writer life include self-care and doing anything else that will help you replenish your creative energies. After a long weekend filled with a wedding, old friends, family,  and walking by the water, I was filled with new ideas for new projects and tweaks for those in progress. Stephen King talks about this. He’s been in a band and done a lot of living that helps him have a deep well of ideas to draw on.

I also read a lot of writers craft books. Hooked by Les Edgerton is a good one for the first chapter. The Novel Writers Toolkit by Bob Mayer was also helpful. The Screenwriter’s Bible by David Trottier and Screenplay by Syd Field are fantastic for screenplays.

One thing I do to constantly improve is try to pay attention to whether or not a skill is weak, such as writing dialogue or being descriptive, and I work on improving it. I’ll read craft books on specific skills to learn new techniques to try. It takes a lot to be honest with yourself about your weak areas and some writers don’t ever get there.

At this stage, I’m very interested in checking out The Writer’s Festival.

Now, this particular friend lives in the Peterborough area, so I thought I’d list a few events in the area that may be good starting places:

  1. The Peterborough Writers Facebook Group. I have no idea how active it is, but this would be a place one could ask some questions about the writing scene.
  2. The Literary Tourism page.
  3. Meetup.
  4. The Peterborough branch of the Canadian Authors Association. It’s mentioned in this article on My Kawartha.
  5. The Peterborough Library. A lot of librarians read, but they also write.
  6. Writers Festivals. The Writers Union has a long list of these. The Lakefield Lit Festival is marked as being close to Peterborough.
  7. Colleagues can make a good resource too. Everyone knows someone who writes.
  8. A writing group. I met mine at the Small Press Fair. I feel like it’s good to have an idea of what you need in a writing group before committing though. Some get together and push each other to write every morning. Some gather monthly to offer feedback. Really, they come in a lot of forms. I like my monthly one. We touch base, talk about our goals, and give each other feedback. We have a wide variety of age, political views, and life experiences that I find adds a richness to the experience.

There you have it. I hope this has been worthwhile.

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Updates

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Natsu Matsuri 2018

It was a soggy day, so the event was moved inside this year. Though it was a little more cozy in the smaller space, it was a success.

My dojo was the opening group of performers and I was leading my portion, which was scary. I can’t recall if I ever heard my sword, or if my heart was simply beating too loud to hear it.

Because we were first up, I got to relax and enjoy most of the day. The booming drums of Oto-wa Taiko were even more amazing than usual. The dancing was more difficult to participate in as it became very challenging to figure out who actually knew the dance you were supposed to follow along with. I didn’t buy much for food as most items had ingredients I couldn’t have or all Japanese labels where I couldn’t tell what I might be eating.

Training in July

I always struggle with martial arts in July. It gets too warm for me in the dojo. I dehydrate easily during this month. I always look forward to the fall when it cools down, so I can train more. I wish they’d get an air conditioner, but the people who own our practice space love the over 40 Celsius days it seems.

Taekwondo

I’m looking forward to joining taekwondo. I haven’t set a time for it yet. I was originally thinking half way through August, but that might not be financially reasonable and perhaps I should wait until half way through September. Why half way through? They have a 2-week deal where starting is discounted and comes with an outfit.
It makes sense to me to have my payment schedule close to the beginning of the month, though if I think about it more, I may think it better to have it in the other half of the month. I’ll be combing through the finances soon to see what is best. Many of my current payments are twice a month, so it might not matter.

Yes, I just said I’m struggling with the training I have now and it probably seems silly to be adding more on top, but I believe the cardio aspects of tkd and the different muscle groups used will help me handle more.

Battle on the Home Front

I’m still decluttering and expect I will be fore quite some time yet, but it’s getting better. I now have a pretty nice space in my bedroom for all things music. It looks so slick. I’ll post pictures soon 🙂

Work

I’m starting a new position on Monday. There is much I can’t talk about related to it for security reasons, but I’m not one to spend my free time droning on about work. I’m really excited about it and much of my time this week is being spent getting organized and also changing over from the #writerslife schedule to a regular working schedule.

With gratitude,
R~

Merry Monday – Another Busy Weekend

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My weekend was packed with learning, socializing, and martial arts. On Friday and Saturday, I attended Can-Con 2017. I had a fantastic time seeing old friends and made a few new ones. There were many panels over the weekend and I learned a lot of things such as that beer was literally a chunk-filled “smoothie” they used straws to drink in order to avoid the chunks at one point in history. Gross. The earliest was made in China, not Egypt as many think. To learn more about beer, check out Black Creek Brewery. Oh, apparently it’s also unclear whether or not beer or bread came first.

I’ve come out of the weekend with a list of Canadian Horror films I should check out, a list of absurdist UK comedies to watch, some screenwriting facts that I haven’t heard at school, some new perceptions about the world as it may be for others, some books to read, and a new appreciation for George A. Romero. I also enjoyed a lot of laughter with friends I haven’t seen in a while. I even have a few story ideas to file away for later, which is always a good thing.

The panel I was on didn’t have a large audience, but we had fun and I have some strange stories to post in my flash fiction area later this week.

Thank you to the organizers. This con has grown a lot and I always enjoy going. It gets better every year.

On Sunday, I was part of the Ottawa Welcomes the World event held at the Horticulture building at Lansdowne, which is next to Jack Astor’s if anyone ever needs to find it. My dojo demonstrated kata and other techniques in front of a large crowd of people. I was a bit nervous as I haven’t been making practices lately with homework and such, but it went well and we had a captive audience.

I have a few story ideas to file away for later, which is always a good thing.

Many drinks were had over the course of the weekend and a nap was needed when I got home.

I felt like I had to stay up late to find out about the strike. I also needed to relax after the busy weekend, so I tried a few TV shows. I didn’t find anything I really liked and I ended up watching Death Note while mending a pair of comfy pants. I found the romantic subplot a little hurried and twisted, but otherwise I enjoyed the story. It was fluffy enough that I didn’t have to think much, which is good after a weekend filled with learning and emotional stress, but had enough complexity that I wasn’t bored. I could tell it was an anime plot based on the backstory of ‘L’ though. There were a lot of plot twists that had me captivated.

It turned out that I didn’t need to stay up late to find out. As of 9PM, the strike was on. What a sad way to end an otherwise wonderful weekend. That’s life sometimes though.

I slept in this morning to recover from Can-Con. Despite the unfortunate situation, the sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day.

It’s time to rustle up some food and then head to class to meet with my peers to figure out what to do about it.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Frisky Friday – The Silly Immune System

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Apparently, it’s really common to feel frisky when you have a cold. It seems like the most ridiculous time. I mean, not only are you feeling miserable, who wants to get it on with someone who’s nose resembles a chaos demon? Nonetheless, apparently orgasms can help boost the immune system and get you feeling better sooner. Check out this article for more information on this phenomenon. There’s also a sub-reddit on the subject, of course. There may have even been a Friend’s episode about it.

Writing Update

I’m off to Can-Con 2017 this weekend. I’ll be a panelist for the Spam Meet panel Saturday evening. I’m going to take some relaxation/homework time Saturday morning to hopefully kill the last of my cold by getting some much needed rest. Otherwise, I can be either found enjoying libations or taking in a panel myself.

It’s been a rather emotional week with the strike happening. We’ve also been working at an accelerated pace in some areas to ensure we can do as much as possible while the strike is going on. That’s been both exhilarating and exhausting.

Today was a sad day though. Hearing my teachers speak of the strike all week has been sad. They’re working hard to make sure we’ll be OK despite the situation and I think that says a lot about how much they care about us and our futures.

Well, I have to do a revision for my feature film treatment before the weekend ends, so I better get to it.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

Merry Monday – When September Ends

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The annual iaido and jodo seminar happened this weekend. We had a few less people than last year, but those who came learned quite a bit. We split into three groups and the instructors rotated between us. I loved it because we all received feedback from different teachers who may be saying similar things to our own, but they say it in a different way than our own does and sometimes that’s all you need for a eureka moment. I didn’t have a eureka moment this time around, but I did figure out that I can do more at home than just practicing the kata. It’s hard to swing weapons around in my condo, but I can practice the lower body pieces once I make space to. So, that means some cleaning needs to happen, which I want to do anyway. I might make up my own exercises that could be kihon based on pieces from each kata. Of course, I can practice basic cutting too, but they were stressing that we aren’t doing enough to ensure our legs are strong, so I think that, my neck, and some core would be best to focus on.

I did have some trouble with my knees. I hope that won’t become a regular thing. I need to do more before I attempt Nidan grade again. I suspect that will come quick with it being the first weekend in December as we’re already in October.

There were a lot of good conversations and some tasty drinks, though I wasn’t fond of the cider I had on Friday as the acid in it gave me heartburn and other fun issues that made me late on Saturday. I also had missed one assignment and needed to squeeze that in despite a slight hangover.

Ah well, everything came together and it was great to see my martial arts pals!

Guid cheerio the nou,

R~

Warrior Wednesday – Seminar Planning

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Sometimes battle looks more like fighting with a computer in this modern age.

Especially when making preparations for the yearly seminar.

Last year’s form was found, but it was not in the format I needed in order to edit it. I tried to copy and paste, but it wouldn’t copy the information.

Luckily for me, I’m going back to school this year and one of the software packages we use is the Adobe suite, so I was able to convert last year’s file to a word document and update it with this year’s particulars.

I have the main restaurant booked. I just need to book the Friday night whoever’s in town place. My first choice looks like it probably won’t work, which is annoying. There are some new places even closer to home for several of us, so perhaps they will be the place to go. I have menu questions to ask for myself and to see if they can accommodate the smaller group that usually comes out on the Friday night. At least I had no issues booking the large group for Saturday’s dinner.

There’s still insurance outstanding, but we’re proceeding anyway and hoping it doesn’t blow up in our faces. It’s coming. We just have a time of year that happens to be when renewal happens, so we have this same problem every year.

A lot of little things go into a seminar. This one doesn’t have a grading or depend on foreign sensei, so it’s a lot easier, but there are still things that make it challenging to plan and execute.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been working on today. Maybe I’ll check out this other place tonight as I need to go do some errands anyway.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~